Creating and Managing Successful Internships

Maryland Horse Council Intern Holden Rafey interviewing Olympian Joe Fargis (photo courtesy of Holden Rafey)

I landed my first professional job at WJZ-TV in Baltimore, Md., after serving as an intern while a student at Towson University. At 21-years-old, I became the station’s assistant Public Relations Officer with real duties and responsibilities and had the opportunity to work with industry icons like Oprah Winfrey. I owe that job and experience to my supervisor during my internship, Joyce Kashima.

Although I was only a college student intern, Joyce treated me like an employee. She gave me challenging tasks, taught me to meet deadlines, and made me go out and interact directly with the station’s news personalities. She brought me into meetings and explained why she was doing things and always had time to answer my many questions. I knew I was lucky to have her as a mentor, particularly when I spoke to classmates who did not have the same positive experience during their internships.

I learned from that experience. I’ve managed several internships in the past seven years, so I thought I would offer some tips for those who may be creating and managing internships.

Identify an Internship Coordinator

Name one person as the intern’s go-to person, and train that person in what you would like them to do. The Coordinator should not be the newest employee, but someone with experience who can help the intern learn and grow. It might make sense to rotate an intern through more than one section in your organization, but the intern should still have one coordinator/supervisor. This relationship will reflect what most workplaces will be like and will help your organization keep track of the internship progress.

Have a Written Plan

When bringing in an intern, know what it is you want him or her to do. If possible, have the Intern Coordinator speak to the intern and develop a plan beneficial to both parties. The written plan can include goals, skills to be developed, and specific duties assigned. Make duties rewarding and try to avoid menial tasks which can quickly demotivate interns who are giving your organization their most valuable resource – their time. Here is a link to a  Sample Plan.

Give Back

The internship should be a two-way street. The Internship Coordinator should be a mentor and provide feedback and professional guidance. I recommend written performance reports summarizing interns’ contributions. Reports can follow the Sample Plan’s format with a short Summary section at the end. These reports can become important resume bullets and demonstrate to interns that your organization valued their time.  Also be prepared to spend time providing recommendations, if deserved.

An Intern’s Perspective

This week concluded a successful three-year internship between intern Holden Rafey and the Maryland Horse Council (MHC). I had the pleasure of being Holden’s Internship Coordinator and mentor and asked her if she would be willing to answer a few questions to help others. Here are her thoughts.

  1. What advice would you give to those establishing internships?

Having good communication between the intern and supervisor is important. With proper communication, the intern will know what is expected of them and be able to bring any questions or concerns to their supervisor.

  1. What advice would you give to interns in deciding which internship is right for them?

An internship with something that you are interested in will give you a lot more motivation to complete your assigned tasks than an internship with something you have no interest in. An internship where you get to do or create something concrete that you can show to future employers is also great.

  1. As an experienced successful intern, what advice would you give to other new interns?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. An internship is an opportunity for you to learn new skills, and you aren’t expected to already know everything. It is better to ask for help or clarification than to do something wrong.

You may like to see Holden’s final blog post of her internship, and while you are there, you can see the many contributions she made in what became MHC’s most widely-read blog!

If anyone has useful internship guidance, tips, or stories, please share. And good luck to all Internship Coordinators and interns out there.

 

Guest Post – Days End Farm Horse Rescue

Please welcome Maryland Horse Council (MHC) Youth Correspondent, Holden Rafey, and her guest post on Days End Farm Horse Rescue (DEFHR). Days End is featured in Believing In Horses, Too, and I’ve been fortunate to get to know some of the great staff and volunteers there over the past few years. I’ve also been honored to serve as Holden’s mentor in her MHC internship for almost two years now and share with you her 19th post to the MHC’s Youth Blog discussing this tremendous organization.

Days End Farm Horse Rescue

By Holden Rafey

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Time off from school can be time spent with horses, though riding is only one of the ways to get your horse fix. Did you know you can learn about rescue horses and help with their care in spring break and summer programs? [Read more…]

Brave HEART – Horses Helping Military

BraveHEART_CoverI recently had the opportunity to work with the Brave HEART program on several writing projects. Brave HEART (Heroes Equine Adventure & Riding Therapy) “provides an environment where Veterans, military members, and their families come together to facilitate healing and strengthen relationships through equine interaction and outdoor activities.” A 501(c)(3) charitable organization, the Brave HEART program supports those who have served, or still serve, at the peaceful Larkspur Lane Farm setting in Hagerstown, Maryland.

While speaking with the founder and Executive Director, Laura Lane-Unsworth, we determined one of the Brave HEART projects would be a tri-fold brochure to help inform people about Brave HEART’s work. Laura was most helpful in getting me the top five points to get across, testimonials, and a general feel for the tone of the brochure. I put together the words and then enlisted the help of my talented graphic designer friend, Brittany Klein of Radiant Resolution, LLC, to display the information in a far more pleasing manner than I could. I am not a graphic designer – at all – and know the value good graphic designers bring to any visual project. [Read more…]

Maryland is for Horses

Maryland_Horse

The Maryland state slogan should be “Maryland is for Horses;” it makes much more sense than “Virginia is for Lovers.” It’s not just the history, the legacy, and the facilities, but our fellow citizens’ support. Although I’ve been involved with horses since my first riding lessons at Kettering Stables in the 1960’s and grew up watching horses run at Bowie Race Track, I did not understand the far reaching impact horses had on communities, businesses, individuals, and industries until recently. I’m not an economist, but I can use my own personal example to illustrate how one person’s horse habit can affect the local economy. [Read more…]

“Believing In Horses, Too” Awarded Grant

MHIBThank you to the Maryland Horse Industry Board (MHIB) for selecting “Believing In Horses, Too,” for a 2016 grant award! The funds will be used to purchase and donate a copy of “Believing In Horses, Too,” for every Maryland county public library system and Baltimore city. “Believing In Horses, Too,” tells the story of a young girl who worries about her Navy father serving in Afghanistan. She turns to her love of horses to distract her from her problems. Her adventures with horse rescue, show competition, and equine-assisted therapies present her challenges, and she learns about overcoming adversity through friendships and personal growth. [Read more…]

Author Pays It Forward for Other Authors

I hope you will stop by and check out my guest author interview on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog – she asks great questions! Besides offering writing tips based on her career as a writer, Cheryl hosts authors from around the world to help them gain exposure. In her words: “On this blog, I ‘Pay it Forward’ to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too ‘Pay It Forward’ to any other author.”

http://www.cherylholloway.net/blog/2015/11/20/guest-author-interview-valerie-ormond/

Cheryl Holloway's Blog [Read more…]